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DRY EYE

What is dry eye?

Dry eye (sometimes known as dry eye disease or dry eye syndrome) is a common condition that occurs when the does not produce the right quantity or quality of tears to lubricate the eye.

 

The function of the tears is to keep the front surface of the eye moist and healthy. So when the tear supply is reduced or of poor quality, your eyes can feel itchy and uncomfortable, and even water excessively. This happens when the cornea is over-irritated and causing the tear system to overproduce tears in order to flush out any irritants.

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

Dry eye symptoms can vary and can change regularly, they could also be more sever in one eye. Some of the most common symptoms of dry eye are as follows:

  • itching

  • soreness or aching eyes

  • a gritty sensation

  • redness

  • blurry vision

  • sensitivity to light

  • more watery than normal

What can be done about Dry Eye and Blepharitis?

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Blepharitis

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Treatment Plans

What causes dry eye?

Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes struggle to efficiently make enough tears. Tears are an important part of your eye health as they help to keep your eyes moisturised, protect them against infections, clear away any debris from the surface of your eyes and keep your vision clear.

A normal tear film consists of three main layers:

  • Mucin layer – which lines the surface of the eye and helps the tears top stick to the eye

  • Aqueous layer – this nourishes and protects the eye

  • Lipid oil layer – sitting on the very surface the oil helps to lubricate the movement of lids whilst blinking and helps to stop the tears evaporating away too quickly

A breakdown in the production of any of these layers will lead to an imbalance in the tear film, which reduces the quality and/or quantity of tears.

Dry eye syndrome causes are usually multifactorial, meaning that there is rarely one stand out cause. Both physical and environment have a huge part to play in the development of dry eye syndrome. Some of the more commons reasons are utlined here.

  • A blockage in the glands of the eyelid that supply the important oily layer of tears (known as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)) – without this layer (the lipid layer), the tears evaporate quicker, causing the eyes to dry out.

  • Age – as we get older, our eyelids don’t spread tears across the eyes as well when blinking and the glands which supply the components of our tears can become less efficient (similar to when our skin dries more with age)

  • Working in an air-conditioned environment

  • Using tech - staring at a screen for a prolonged time means that we don’t blink as efficiently

  • Trauma or surgery to the eye

  • Hot or windy environments

  • Certain underlying medical conditions, like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or Sjögren's syndrome.

  • Side effects of certain medications, such as some antihistamines

  • Alcohol usage – alcohol can dehydrate the body and therefore reduce the volume of tears your eyes produce

  • Hormonal changes

What causes blepharitis?

 

 

Blepharitis can be caused by:

  • a type of bacteria that lives on the skin

  • a skin condition, such as seborrhoeic dermatitis

  • the glands inside the eyelids not producing enough oil

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